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U.S. Fighter Jets Shoot Down High Altitude Object Over Alaska; FBI Says, One Classified Document Removed During Search Of Pence's Home; Inside Urgent Rescues In Earthquake Zone As Deaths Top 23,000; Trump Team Turns Over Additional Classified Documents, Laptop To Federal Prosecutors; Santos Facing New Wave Of Controversies Amid Multiple Investigations. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired February 10, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. U.S. fighter jets shoot down an unidentified object flying at high altitude over Alaska, President Biden giving the order just hours ago and just days after the downing of the Chinese spy balloon.
Also tonight, another classified document is found in the possession of former Vice President Mike Pence, the FBI removing the material from Pence's Indiana home after searching it for hours.
And we'll take you inside the urgent hunt for survivors in the earthquake zone with a rescuer who's on the ground right now. We're getting dripping new accounts of people found alive as many, many more bodies are found and the death toll rises higher and higher.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in The Situation Room.
Let's get right to the breaking news on the U.S. military shooting down a, quote, high altitude object just a little while ago after tracking it over Alaska for 24 hours. We have a team of correspondents and experts standing by as we break down what we know and what we don't know about this object and how it compares to the Chinese spy balloon shot down nearly a week ago.
First, let's go to CNN's Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto. Jim, what are your sources telling you first of all about this object that was shot down over Alaska?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here are the details we know right now. It was unmanned, flying at 40,000 feet, lower than the 60,000, 70,000 feet that the Chinese surveillance balloon was flying at but closer to commercial air traffic, not maneuverable, again, unlike the first balloon we saw last week, and also smaller, about the size of a car, the Pentagon says, as opposed to two to three buses.
And at this point, and this is key, the U.S. is not identifying a country as the owner/operator of this particular object. Here is what White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby had to say earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: The president absolutely was involved in this decision. He ordered it at the recommendation of Pentagon leaders. He wanted it taken down and they did that. They did it using fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command.
We are calling this an object because that's the best description we have right now. We do not know who owns it, whether it's state-owned or corporate owned or privately owned. We just don't know. We don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Well, the president made that decision. They went with a similar weapons, identical really weapon's package, an F-22 fighter firing a Sidewinder missile and taking it down. It's the second time in a week the president has made a decision to take down an object over the U.S. that he and the Pentagon decided was a threat.
BLITZER: What are you -- what more are you learning, Jim, about the area this object was flying over when it was shot down?
SCIUTTO: So, this was over Prudhoe Bay in Northern Alaska, bordering on the Arctic Ocean there. Listen, it's not clear what the particular target was. But we should note this, and I've been up there myself. This is an area near Dead Horse, Alaska, as well, where the U.S. flies out to meet submarines operating in the arctic. We went there in 2018 for U.S. submarines operating in the ICEX exercises. You could see one of them there.
As we saw with the Chinese surveillance balloon earlier in the week, attention focused on why might an object be in that area. We don't know. But we do know that there are military facilities up there, U.S. assets operating up there as well, similar to what we saw when saw with the Chinese surveillance balloon flying over state such as Montana, I should say, with ICBM sites.
So, we are waiting more information from Pentagon as they identify a country, but right now, we do know the president knew it was enough a threat to act.
BLITZER: And he did. Jim Sciutto, reporting for us, thank you very much.
Let's go to our Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly right now and CNN National Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood. Phil, first to you, what led to the president's decision today to shoot this object down?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, the timeline is important here, because it's also very different than the timeline that we had with the Chinese spy balloon. Two different objects, according to U.S. officials, two very different responses in terms of the speed with which the president gave the order on the Pentagon's recommendation to shoot down the object.
Now, the president was briefed on the object's existence on Thursday evening, according to White House officials. On Friday morning, after fighter jets had once again gone up to try to and get a better sense of what the object was, the president was briefed again, the president was given the recommendation by the Pentagon to shoot down the object.
The president took that recommendation, gave the order to shoot down the object and it was shot down a little before 2:00 P.M. today.
And I think what you hear from officials that are most critical at this point in time was the height of which the object was flying.
As Jim noted, it was 25,000 feet lower than the Chinese spy balloon. That was a driving force behind the decision-making process here but certainly a much faster move towards shooting the object down. I think it's still a lot of very unanswered questions going forward about what this object was and why this process played out the way it did.
BLITZER: So, Kylie, what happens next in this investigation? What are you hearing?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the White House and the Biden administration writ large are really focused on right now is the recovery here. Because as you have been talking about, they really don't know a lot about what this actually was, this mysterious object, and where it came from. And so recovery here is really critical to answering those questions.
Now, the recovery of this mysterious object that was down is going to look a lot different than the recovery of the Chinese spy balloon that came down off the coast of South Carolina over the weekend, because that came down on territorial waters of the United States. This is coming down over ice. It is freezing in these Alaskan seas right now. So, it's a very different recovery. But it's just beginning.
This was shot down, of course, around 1:45 P.M. today. And so we are expecting to learn more as these recovery efforts get under way. Of course, we really still don't who is in charge of this. Was it a nation state or was it a private entity that sent this object up into the air?
And the other thing that is different in terms of the Chinese spy balloon and this object is the fact that the United States knew that it was a Chinese spy balloon before they shot it down. And we are told by sources that there was actually a system, a method that was developed by U.S. officials just in the last year, according to my colleagues Natasha and Katie Bo Lillis, who said that there was a method that enabled them to track the Chinese spy balloon fleet around the world. It appears that this object was not being tracked as part of that effort. Wolf? BLITZER: All right. Kylie, thank you very much. Kylie Atwood and Phil Mattingly, appreciated very, very much.
Let's discuss all of this with the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper. He's a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General. He is a CNN National Security Analyst as well. General thanks so much for joining us.
As you know, the Pentagon says they have no details yet on this object's origins. Do you suspect China? And how do you narrow down who was behind this?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, obviously, I think the first suspect on the list of suspects would be China. But it's possible it could be Russian, for example. And it might even be more legitimate in terms of maybe it was a weather package on it. But, again, we don't know that. But I think the obvious foreign suspects would be China and Russia.
BLITZER: The administration says the object was about the size of a small car and couldn't maneuver on its own compared to the Chinese spy balloon, which was the size they say of three school buses. What does that tell you about the possible capabilities of this object?
CLAPPER: Well, I suspect it's less than the balloon-borne sensor suite. Again, I'm speculating here, but I would think it sounds as though it was less sophisticated, a smaller payload, didn't have the guidance. So, whoever the owner of this object is had not made the investment and resources and technology that it appears was made in the case of the Chinese balloon.
BLITZER: When you look, General, at the vastly different handling of this object versus the Chinese balloon, do you believe political pressure played a role in the administration's decision to shoot this object down so quickly?
CLAPPER: Well, possibly. I don't know, Wolf. I will say, though, that I think this is an evolving thing. And what would be very helpful is if we developed a protocol, the administration can develop a protocol, some rules of engagement, if you will and get that blessed or at least explained first to the Congress and then to the public.
And, again, I'm not being critical here. This is kind of a new area for us to manage. But I think at some point, there needs to be a commonly understood protocol on how these things will be handled and responded to. In this particular case, it sounds like this was a potential hazard to navigation, although I am not sure how many airplanes flying in that region, and according -- it was taken right away.
But I can only speculate how much domestic political situation played under it. I'm sure it did, I just don't know how much.
BLITZER: China and other key adversaries carry out vast surveillance efforts, as we all know, against the United States. How do these objects and these balloons, for example, fit into the bigger picture of what's going on?
CLAPPER: Well, the Chinese have a full service intelligence and security apparatus, which is overseen by a member of a Pilot (ph) Bureau. I think it's not likely that the Chinese senior tier of leadership to include President Xi knew all about this and knew about the balloon.
It does show the extent to which China will extend itself to collect information, whether it's thievery of intellectual property, buying property in the United States that's near sensitive facilities, balloons, satellites, human spies, you name it. They have a very robust and large intelligence enterprise. And you kind of have to hand it to them with respect to the balloons, because they picked a regime that is not well-observed by most countries.
BLITZER: Yes. I suspect the U.S. intelligence community will learn a lot once the U.S. collects all the debris that fell down on the ice over Alaska and they get that debris and they find out where it was made and what it was doing. James Clapper, as usual, thank you so much for joining us.
Just ahead, what the FBI found in a new search of former vice president's Mike Pence's home as part of the U.S. Justice Department's classified documents investigation.
BLITZER: Tonight, the U.S. Justice Department has retrieved new classified material from former Vice President Mike Pence. CNN's Paula Reid has the latest on the FBI search of Pence's home as well as the new subpoena he is now facing.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): FBI agents arrived at the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence Friday to search for classified documents. In a statement released after the search, Pence's team revealed investigators removed one document with classified markings and six additional pages without such markings that were not discovered in the initial review by the vice president's counsel.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Let me be clear, those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence. Mistakes were made and I take full responsibility.
REID: The Justice Department is now reviewing how those documents ended up there especially after he denied taking any such materials. Pence consented to allowing the FBI in his home after his lawyers found a dozen documents mark classified in the residence last month.
PENCE: There would be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in a non-protected area.
REID: A member of his legal team was present as agents scoured the home while Pence was on the west coast of visiting family after the arrival of two new grandchildren.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vice president asked for a full compliance.
REID: His team have publicly touting their cooperation in search in contrast to another Justice Department matter as Pence now faces a subpoena from Special Counsel Jack Smith in his criminal investigation into January 6th.
Pence's lawyers have been in negotiation for months as he's a key witness to what was happening inside the White House around the election and eventual Capitol attack --
PENCE: I told the Secret Service that I was not living the Capitol.
REID: -- and to Trump's pressure campaign to overturn the election --
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us.
REID: -- and the wrath he endured when he refused.
Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done, Trump tweeted, as the Capitol was under siege.
PENCE: When I saw those images and when I read a tweet that President Trump issued and saying that I lacked courage in that moment, it angered me greatly.
REID: Pence could try to assert privilege over certain conversations with the former president but he'll have a hard time refusing to answer questions about once he included in his much publicized memoir.
PENCE: And I looked at him and I said I guess it's just two things we'll probably never agree on, and he look up and said, what? And I referred to my role on January 6th. And then I said, I'm never going to stop praying for you.
REID (on camera): In the coming days, the FBI is also expected to search Pence's D.C. office for classified documents. Then the Justice Department will have to eventually decide whether to appoint a special counsel to look into this further. But, Wolf, there is clearly a desire by the Pence team to move this along as quickly as possible as he continues to contemplate a possible presidential run.
BLITZER: Yes, he's seriously considering that. Thanks very much, Paula, for that report.
Let's get some more. Joining us now is CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Cordero, CNN Senior Political Commentator and former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger and CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman. Carrie, the FBI removed, as you know, this one additional classified document from Pence's home today in Indiana. So, what does this mean for Pence and for the overall investigation?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the FBI's first objective is to recover any classified information that's located in places that it shouldn't be. So, that's their number one objective is to protect national security, protect this information. So, they accomplished that task.
The second thing that's important to keep in mind is that this was a consensual search. This is not like the search that the FBI executed at Mar-a-Lago, which was pursuant with a search warrant. This is the former vice president giving consent for them to search to make sure that they recovered any classified information that they have.
And so then the next steps are they are going to have to continue their investigation to determine how these documents got to where they were, whether or not there was any kind of other exposure, did people who weren't supposed to see them see them, how did this happen to begin with.
And then they will get to the point as to whether or not they think there's anything criminal in nature about this. Was there intent, was this on purpose or was this simply an accident?
BLITZER: This comes, Adam, as Pence is facing a subpoena right now in the special counsel's January 6th investigation. Does this give Pence some political cover to share at least some of what he knows?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, I think being subpoenaed is certainly preferable for Mike Pence, I think, versus coming in and voluntarily saying it. My guess is, through those negotiations, this was a requirement of the Pence team. It certainly is important now.
And I think this shows that we are probably getting a little closer to figuring out whether there will be an indictment or not based on January 6th. Because coming to the vice president is not something I would imagine you do early on.
But I'll tell you, listening to Mike Pence talking about the document and taking full responsibility and full ownership of it and saying the buck stops with him, I got to tell you as I heard that sound bite, it's been a long time since we've had a leader actually take responsibility like that even if it wasn't his fault. And I got to tell you, I think that, in my mind, goes a long way.
BLITZER: Maggie, the fact that Pence is likely to run against the president he served, talking about Trump, is one thing, but to now be subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating Trump takes that tension to an entirely new level, doesn't it?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It does, Wolf, and we are in a very unusual situation, as was noted before. Pence's team had been talking to the Justice Department for many weeks. My colleagues and I reported in November that the Justice Department had reached out to Pence seeking to speak to him. That was never likely to happen without a subpoena.
It's not clear to me that Pence is jumping at this opportunity. He talked about a number of these events in his book. But there are obviously many more detailed questions the Justice Department would like to ask. And I think we are now going to get into a lengthy executive privilege and potentially other constitutional issues claim here.
What bearing this has on whether Pence decides he's going to run for president, I don't know, but it does add to the messiness between him and Trump.
BLITZER: Carrie, will Pence be able to claim what's called executive privilege when asked about his conversations with Trump, especially after in the aftermath of what -- he writes about those conversations in the book that came out a few months ago?
CORDERO: Yes. When he is eventually taken before the grand jury and interviewed in the course of this investigation under oath, I think it really will depend on the specific questions. It's going to be very lawyerly the way that this plays out in terms of specific statements that will have to be parsed between what was in his book, what he has spoken about publicly, what he has said in any other interviews or communications. And then if there's a remainder of pieces of information that he wants to assert privilege or that the former president wants to assert privilege of over, then those potentially would have to be determined by the judge.
BLITZER: Carrie Cordero, Adam Kinzinger, Maggie Haberman, guys thank you very, very much.
Just ahead, we'll go live to the earthquake disaster zone as rescuers in Turkey and Syria race to find survivors before it's too late. Stay with. You're in The Situation Room.
BLITZER: Let's get an update now on the earthquake and a growing humanitarian disaster in Turkey and Syria. The death toll now toping 23,000 men, women and children killed. Our Chief International Security Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is near the quake's epicenter in Southern Turkey.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Over 100 hours after the worst quake in nearly a 100 years and still there are lights that won't go out. Naked feet, a reminder this happened in everyone's sleep, in this new dawn so welcome no better way to show you are alive than this smile. The crowds at each site larger, louder in success, now the number of living buried is smaller. Timodu's (ph) husband was pulled out moments before her. They don't have to go far to be reminded how so many searches end.
The preciousness of each moment of hope is most acute here where military helicopters and ambulances former stream rushing the injured to hospitals in other Turkish cities because so many here are crippled. We see a three-year-old girl conscious, her two-months-old sister the same. It is unclear if they know where their mother is. Nobody here does.
This just how urgent their work is, each time they try to take off, another ambulance arrives with another injured person who urgently requires to treatment elsewhere.
The old are rushed on, too, but also two so tiny they share a stretcher and on board must be carried in their arms. They, too, fly without their parents.
About 15 patients in total this morning.
Remember, though, this is how most stories are ending here, hurried graves in a cemetery dug by hand and cardboard, even this, a relative luxury in a time of nothing, two families of four who died in the same building.
Across this city, though, the task of burying so many also urgent. Back at the same rubble site, another search has begun. This resident explains its interior. The hope now is for Yeshim's (ph) brother, mother and father. A nurse, she's been here since Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been struggling for five days. Everyone has lost hope now and is sending me condolences. Officials told me they would only find a corpse. And now two people have come out alive. We need professional rescuers. The fire brigade quit on us. We found those two just now with construction workers. I brought three body bags. Maybe I need them and a graveyard.
WALSH: Into dusk, the dig inches carefully forwards with no time limit or guarantee it will find anything. The city center swamped in dust and the heavy knowledge that the longer their patience and struggle, the less likely it is to be rewarded.
WALSH (on camera): Now, Wolf, make no mistake eventually, the hunt for survivors will end. And the grim focus of this town will switch to trying to get those trapped in the rubble out alive to keeping them those living around the rubble now alive.
And we just got a sense in the last hours of how that fabric can deteriorate. A false rumor started here that a dam nearby had burst, caused immense panic in this crowds, blocked roads, everyone desperately tried to flee. It turned out it seems that rumor was incorrect. And then some angry locals here began to hunt down people they thought were trying to steal from abandoned properties. A sense I think here of desperation, and that's bound to increase in the weeks ahead. Wolf?
BLITZER: Yes, indeed. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very, very much.
Now let's go to CNN Salma Abdelaziz. She's standing by for us in Istanbul. Salma, so what's the latest where you are?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's a huge humanitarian crisis, of course, here in Turkey, but south to Syria, perhaps the situation there is even more dire. There are fears that aid is being politicized, that access is being limited by the Syrian government and the impact of that devastating on the ground. Take a look.
ABDELAZIZ (voice over): This is what funerals look like in the quake zone, burials en masse. There are just too many bodies. Baby clothes are all that remain of Nassir's (ph) little girl, Ilef (ph). She died cradled in her mother's arms. Her mom is dead, too. And this is a little note written by his daughter, Hiba (ph), also killed in the earthquake. You are my heart, it reads. And now his heart is broken.
Six of his children and his wife killed in an instant. His home lies in ruins. We are used to airstrikes rockets, barrel bombs, but this, an act of God, he says, I kept calling out my children's names one by one, no one answered.
This a rebel-held area in Syria ravaged by war. Residents here are all too familiar with death. They can endure no more.
In government-controlled areas, there is relatively more assistance. As the crisis entered its fifth day, President Bashar al-Assad toured the affected area drawing criticism for his delayed visit.
Aid is coming in from his backers, Iran and Russia, Pakistan and Algeria sending help as well, and the U.S. is authorizing aid that would otherwise be prohibited by tough sanctions to flow through here for a period of 180 days.
But help is still limited and anguish is everywhere. Public spaces have been turned into shelters for the hundreds of thousands made homeless. I wish we could feel safe, that our children can feel normal, she says. No one cares about us.
A nation long neglected, struck by yet another catastrophe without any means to withstand it.
ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Wolf, you might be wondering why I'm coming to you live from a boat, but this ferry is quickly being turned into a shelter for the displaced.
The Istanbul City Council is using it to try to house 12,000 people and they're doing it quickly.
What I'm walking you into here is going to be a field hospital. They want to take care of some of the wounded. They're setting up 15 beds. They can house 1,200 people.
I'm also going to show you the dormitories that they are building as quickly as they can. Right in here, you can see there are fresh mattresses laid. They really want to try to create a floating community so they can help even just a tiny fraction of the many, many displaced. Wolf?
BLITZER: Salma Abdelaziz in Istanbul, thank you very, very much.
For more on the earthquake recovery right now, I want to bring in Stephen Allen. He is joining us from Southern Turkey. He is the Lead for USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team on the scene for us. So, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for all the important work you and your teams are doing.
Now, it's. what, more than 100 hours since this quake hit. How critical are your search dogs and specialized listening devices, for example, to find anyone still alive in this horrible rubble?
STEPHEN ALLEN, LEAD, USAID DISASTER ASSISTANCE RESPONSE TEAM: Yes. Thanks for having me, Wolf. And we are in a stage right now where a lot of the people who have been recovered have been recovered because they are easier to reach. People who are left are those who are deeper in the rubble, buried in a harder to reach places that may require some specialized equipment.
So, our teams have that equipment. We've got teams out from Fairfax County Virginia and from Los Angeles County, specialized teams that bring that equipment with them. They have got dogs, specialized listening devices. That can really help detect some of those cases that might be alive and help find them even this late into the situation.
BLITZER: But, Stephen, do you fear the window to find survivors is closing rapidly now?
ALLEN: I think the important thing for the teams is to continue working as long as they feel like it's viable. So, we've got teams out in the field right now working on sites where they believe there are survivors. There are other teams that are out surveying sites to see if there might be survivors there. And they're going to work as hard as they can. They work around the clock until a decision is made that really it's time to stop. Until that point, they're going to be out there working as hard as they can.
BLITZER: How do you support organizations on the Syrian side of this disaster considering the complications there after more than a decade of civil war? ALLEN: It's a great question, Wolf. On the Syrian side of the border, I just want to emphasize, earthquakes don't respect political boundaries. So, were seeing lots of death and destruction here in Turkey. There is a lot of deaths and destruction on the Syrian side as well.
Now, in Syria, USAID has been supporting NGOs and the U.N. humanitarian workers for ten years during the civil war. Luckily, we have those partners in place. They were able to pivot their activities to focus on earthquake response and we have provided additional funding, additional support to those agencies so they can continue that good work. So, if we are looking at a way to support those partners in Syria.
BLITZER: Well, thanks for all you are doing, you and your men and women who are on the teams with you. Stephen Allen from USAID in Southern Turkey right now, thank you so much.
ALLEN: Thanks a lot, Wolf.
BLITZER: And an important note to our viewers right now, you can help the earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria by going to cnn.com/impact and you can impact your world.
Just ahead, more on President Biden's order to shoot down an unidentified object over Alaska just a few hours ago. CNN Christiane Amanpour is standing by. We will discuss that as well as her exclusive new interview with the president of Brazil.
BLITZER: Let's get some more now on the U.S. downing of an unidentified object over Alaska within the last several hours. We are joined now by CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour. She's here with me in the Situation Room.
Christiane, I will get to your exclusive interview with the president of Brazil in a moment, but what do you make of this development, the U.S. shooting down this unidentified object flying over Alaska?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, I was struck by the two very lengthy briefings we had from the White House and from the Pentagon within an hour of this having being shot down with so little information. But we know that because they say it has come down over frozen waters of Alaska, that very soon we will know what it, probably much sooner than they could get debris, which they're still recovering from the first actual balloon.
It's very difficult to know. They are being very cagey about it. They are not attributing it to any state, any government, any individual. They are not saying that it is a surveillance thing, like the last one. I think it was unmanned, they say, and it was operating under its own steam. BLITZER: Yes, very interesting. You had a chance to sit down with the president of Brazil, who is here in Washington right now. As you know, President Biden will be going to Poland later this month on the one- year anniversary of the Russian invasion, now the Russian war against the Ukrainian people right now, and I know you had a chance to discuss this with the president of Brazil. Let me play a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: Of course, it has the right to defend itself. Of course, it has that right because the invasion was a mistake on the part of Russia. And Russia couldn't have done that, and after all, it was part of the U.N. Security Council. And so this was not discussed at the U.N. Security Council. So, what I want to say is the following.
What have been mistake, and it's already done, the mistake was already done. Now we have to find people to fix the mistake, to fix the error that was made.
I know that Brazil doesn't have that international political clout to promote that in this rationale of conflicts in the world, but I can say to you that I will dedicate a lot of my time to find a way, a road for someone to start talking about peace.
I was with the German chancellor a week ago, and --
AMANPOUR: And he asked you about sending Leopards to Ukraine and you said no.
LULA DA SILVA: No, it was not tanks, it was ammunition.
AMANPOUR: OK, ammunition.
LULA DA SILVA: I didn't want to send, because if I send the ammunition, I would join the war. If I sent the ammunition from Brazil, the ammunition that you're asking for --
AMANPOUR: But you just agreed that it was defense --
LULA DA SILVA: This will take us to war. I don't want to go -- join the war. I want to end with the war. I don't want to join the war. I want to end with the war. This is a dilemma and this is my commitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Seems like Ukraine became a big subject in his meeting with the president.
AMANPOUR: Well, yes, because they have so much in common. Shoring up democracy, the two suffered their own capital insurrections, right? Fake news, conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of elections. Biden came through it, Lula came through it. The one thing that really they have the differences over is Ukraine.
And he is saying that he wants to be a peacemaker. But right now, the Americans say there is no option, no peace settlement on any table that Russia would want to take up or that anybody would be prepared for.
But I think it's really important to note that he represents the global south and half the world does not have the same narrative about this war that the United States and its Western and NATO and Democratic allies. And that's a challenge.
BLITZER: Thanks for coming in, Christiane Amanpour, here in Washington.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
BLITZER: Always good to have you back here in Washington.
Coming up, breaking news, even more classified documents found at Mar- a-Lago. Stand by.
BLITZER: Breaking news just into CNN: additional classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
Our senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid is joining us now.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we learned that the former president's attorneys have turned over additional documents with classified markings, as well as a laptop belonging to a Trump aide that turned those over to federal investigators for the past few months. We've learned they've also turned over an empty folder that is marked classified evening briefing.
Now, these previously undisclosed handovers, it just reminds us of how much time it has taken the Justice Department to try and get back all of the classified documents they're in the possession of the former president. Now, we learned that Trump attorneys first discovered this additional classified material back in December as they were going through some boxes. They discovered these additional documents with classified markings.
They also subsequently learned that many of those documents had been copied, scanned onto a laptop and a thumb drive, which is why those electronic devices were also handed over to investigators.
Now, of course special counsel Jack Smith has been carrying out an investigation looking into whether the former president may have mishandled classified documents and looking at whether he's trying to obstruct this ongoing federal investigation. And that's just one of his investigations into the former president. The other is, of course, his efforts and the efforts of those around him to try to subvert the 2020 election. And, look, Wolf, the former president's lawyers would like to tell you
that these investigations are ramping up, that they're pretty much over. But our reporting has shown in the past few days that these are very active and ongoing. We're seeing in addition to this new evidence they are gathering, they are also sending out fresh subpoenas to top Trump officials, including the former national security adviser Robert O'Brien.
He was subpoenaed in both investigations and, of course, as we reported yesterday and today, vice president Mike Pence also subpoenaed in the January 6th probe.
BLITZER: All right. Paula Reid, thank you very, very much.
Just ahead, new revelations on George Santos' very murky past, including a previous charge of theft for deceiving dog greeters in Amish county.
BLITZER: Tonight, new revelations are coming to light on Congressman George Santos' shadowy past.
CNN's Brian Todd has the details.
REPORTER: Mr. Santos?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The latest controversy surrounding embattled Congressman George Santos involves another allegation of malfeasance regarding dogs. New information that Santos was charged with theft in Pennsylvania in 2017 when several bad checks in his name, checks obtained by CNN, totaling over $15,000 for, quote, puppies went to dog breeders in Amish country. That's according to a lawyer who helped Santos navigate the case.
TIFFANY BOGOSIAN, ATTORNEY WHO HELPED SANTOS WITH THEFT CHARGE: When they went to go cash the checks, they learned that there was no money behind the checks, all the checks bounced.
TODD: Santos faced charges of theft by deception. Both that lawyer Tiffany Bogosian and Pennsylvania prosecutors told CNN those charges against Santos were later dismissed. But Bogosian has turned on her former friend.
BOGOSIAN : He's definitely not qualified to be where he is in Congress, and he should really be in jail.
TODD: CNN has reached out to Santos for comment on the latest information. We haven't heard back.
The FBI is already investigating separate allegations that Santos took off with money he raised through his pet charity to care for a dying dog belonging to a military veteran.
In an interview with the conservative talk channel Newsmax, Santos denied allegations that he had lied about previously working for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, saying he did work through, quote, contacts with those firms. He was once again evasive on the source of the $700,000 he says he loaned his campaign.
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I can attest that the total of the money was all legitimate money obtained through my legal practices with my company, and I distributed my dividends to myself and loaned it to the campaign.
TODD: And he spoke of all the negative media coverage he's faced.
SANTOS: It's really easy to pile on, on me. I'm the new -- I'm the new favorite punching me in America. Sure, you can come for me. I understand, I can handle the heat.
TODD: The heat's coming from almost every direction. The Federal Election Commission is now asking Santos to declare whether or not he plans to run for re-election next year because he's crossed a fundraising threshold which requires him to make a formal declaration.
Then there's the pressure Santos is getting from fellow Republicans. Some GOP representatives want him to resign. And Republican Senator Mitt Romney confronted Santos at the State of the Union Address, saying Santos shouldn't have been as visible there. Still --
TIA MITCHELL, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: I still think the chances are very low that he'll be kicked out because it takes a two- thirds vote of the House to dispel a member, and it looks like most Republicans don't want to take that step, mainly because their majority is thin.
TODD (on camera): George Santos has generally denied or tried to explain away the various allegations of fabricating his background or being dishonest. In that interview with Newsmax, he continued to defend himself, saying that while the media fanfare around him continues to spiral, he's doing the work that his constituents elected him to do -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, Brian, thanks very much.
To our viewers, thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.